Harry Potter And The Great Snake Emporium
by LindaMarie

Harry Potter's House of Serpents was located three doors down from what was once Weasley's Wheezes. At first he didn't use his name in the title--back in those days, it was called The Snake Symposium--but he'd found it helped business. A lot.

Everybody wanted to come and see The World's Only Remaining Parselmouth, The Boy Who Lived, Defeater of He Who Must Not Be Named, etc., etc. They wouldn't get any answers if they wanted to know more about the Final Battle (as it came to be known) but he was fine with letting them watch as he talked to his friends. Especially if they bought something.

The whole thing started as a joke from Ron. It was during the War, and Harry had been in one of his moods. "Ron, what am I supposed to do if I live through this? What's the point? The only thing I'm good for is defeating Voldemort, and I've obviously not all that good at that."

"Well, you speak Parseltongue, right?" he'd said, after an embarassingly long pause. "So you could be the best snake charmer in the world! And everybody uses snake venom for something, and the snakes'd just roll over and give it to you, right? Don't worry, Harry."

It was funny at the time, though it didn't ease his worries, and when Harry's life as The World's Protector was over, it didn't seem so funny any more.

Even Famous Harry Potter has to pay the bills somehow, and since Gringott's had been destroyed, that was definitely an issue. While he was in St. Mungo's, donations poured in--some from sympathetic old witches who had no one better to dote on, and some from young admirers-- many who worried that they's lose The Age's Greatest Seeker.

It's hard to play Quidditch with only one leg, you see, and with all the poison in his system it was hard to tell for a while whether he'd get it back.

But after he survived and all the flesh and bones (in that order, thank goodness) had regrown, and Harry checked out of the hospital, things started looking bad. Sitting on Lupin's couch all day, gobbling chocolate and downing whiskey by the bottle, didn't help either his store of cash or his public approval.

He didn't want to play Quidditch any more--it reminded him too much of his Hogwarts days. And that old Auror plan? No way. He'd seen enough horror for one lifetime.

So, a snake shop it was. And it worked out all right. At least he had people to talk to. Well, snakes, but close enough. He knew his secrets would never go beyond them, and he knew no one else could even overhear.

Harry started a whole new trend in snake familiarship. They were the first animals to be added to Hogwarts' acceptability list in 200 years. (Rats were added only after a reliable bubonic cure was developed)

And maybe it was kind of lonely. Snakes are great listeners, but they don't really understand the human experience. Harry missed having human companions that he could trust.

But it could have been worse. He could've had no one at all, like Snape. He could've had no place in the world, like Lupin.

He could've had no life to be worried about, like Ron and Hermione.

Whenever he really thought on it, Harry would remind himself: Crazy Snake Man was a damn good title to add to his ever-growing list.


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